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HOME, PVR’s Luxury Lounge and a social and live entertainment club at Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj, has come out with exclusive drinks with a Solar System theme, an industry first approach in the food and beverage industry. Curated by the bar team of HOME, led by an award winning mixologist, these well-researched drinks with a scientific basis behind their meticulous creation, some of which, never tried in the fine dining space are healthy with use of natural elements such as fruits and vegetables.
The newly created beverage menu at HOME has been inspired by the energy of solar power along with fermentation, a preservation process that produces lactic acid. Fermentation is widely used for the production of alcoholic beverages through the process of distillation.
In the world of mixology, there is a growing trend to incorporate fruits and vegetables into both the drinks and the spirits in new and unusual ways and combinations. A well-placed garnish while enhancing flavour, aroma, the health factor and visual appeal can elevate the cocktail from a refreshing drink to a culinary and gourmet experience. The new cocktail menu at HOME uses a distinct variation of fermented fruit & vegetables in its garnishes.
We spoke to Mayank Tiwari, the executive chef of HOME, who combines modern culinary techniques with classic cooking. And Santanu Chanda, the head mixologist & group beverage manager at HOME.
How is PVR - through ‘The Luxury Collection’ - focusing on luxury F&B concepts?
Mayank Tiwari: PVR, while we started with the F&B section, has always been working towards creating multiple areas of excellence in terms of consumer experiences. Now, while the cinema exhibition through the hardware has seen a lot of revolution, a similar methodology was then being applied to F&B. Then we opened the first Director’s cut at Vasant Kunj, almost about 9 or 10 years ago. The idea was to create new benchmarks, if I may say, in terms of providing a more luxurious F&B variety. Now that started from menus that were curated, unlike the regular collection of burgers and sandwiches, to refining the menus and recipes in these segments. You can always find a burger or a pizza at cinemas, but then the idea was to evolve it and do a better variety of these burgers and pizzas, and that’s how the journey started– the need to develop in the F&B sphere, as the cinema exhibition has evolved in leaps and bounds, it was also crucial that the food journey also should evolve parallelly. The success after the launch of Director’s Cut was a key indicator and made it quite evident that there were takers- people who are just not looking at a movie viewing experience, but they are looking at a more overall experience which a patron invests in.
The customers were pleasantly surprised to see this kind of variety of options available. To find sushi at the cinema was really impressive and we received a very positive response. Moreover, having a variety of dishes ranging from tortilla wraps, bubble tea, Korean noodles, popcorn sundae, organic vegan gelatos, plant-based, gluten-free, sugar-free desserts, and dim sums, to name a few, provides a very wholesome experience.
What is the concept behind HOME and its new launch of an industry-leading drink inspired by fermentation and the Solar System?
Mayank Tiwari: What inspired HOME was that they were thinking of enhancing the Director’s Cut and the experience over there, and they just had the space carved out right next to the cinemas. So, the idea was to have a place where people can get an opportunity to come and spend time, even if they are not watching a movie. The F&B section at HOME provides a luxurious experience that comes with a lovely amalgamation of cinematic exhibitions and live performances, entertaining stand-ups, and so on, which comes together very beautifully. As the name suggests, HOME feels like an extension to one’s own living room, it’s warm cozy, and the vision was to create a kind of warmth and uniqueness that a home provides by supporting it with some good F&B. The team of chefs, including Chef Saito and Chef Mayank, are focusing on various Japanese, European, and Modern Indian cuisines crafted with authentic ingredients, like European salads, protein-based dishes such as Black Cod, and Chicken Makhani.
Santanu Chanda: The idea behind the beverage program was to engage our customers in exceptional wines and in aspects of fermentation and solar system.
This programme is one-of-a-kind in India because unlike other bars serving only classic or signature cocktails, HOME is here with a theme-based cocktail menu. The names of the drinks are inspired by the solar system, along with its appearance, and each of them has a story behind its concept which determines how the drink will be. Fermentation has been an age-old way of curating alcoholic beverages, and every spirit undergoes a fermentation process. Being the industry-first approach, the combination of fermentation along with the solar system theme is distinct and adds a very sophisticated touch with the dehydrated and fermented fruits and vegetables used in the garnishes. Fresh and seasonal ingredients are used to bring freshness to the spirits. Be it Marsado, Terra, Equilibrio, G=A2, etc. from the summer cocktail menu, these drinks have taken inspiration from Mars, Earth, Sun, and so on and so forth. We have used ingredients like Gondhoraj, hibiscus, bee pollen, winter spice, sauternes, etc. Layer by layer, we want to create an ambiance that emits an innate and genuine sensation of depth and timelessness, with each and every element meticulously chosen.
In these stressed economic times during a pandemic, what kind of market do these kinds of initiatives have?
Mayank Tiwari: The times have been really testing in this product and quality-driven market, so, the idea was to delight the experience of the patrons so that we can establish an emotional connect with them, which builds the confidence of the people who understand these kinds of drinks and cuisines, by providing them with a credible experience, which resonates with the notion of PVR.
What kind of strategies will be used to encash the interest of niche customers through these concepts?
Mayank Tiwari: The strategy is to focus on fresh & simple and engage them with accessible luxury– where they can go to a cinema to enjoy a gourmet meal which would otherwise be available at a very premium-grade restaurant that is being provided here which includes sushi, a bowl of udon, or a Donburi and now, for that matter exotic cocktails and beverages like Equilibrio and Marsado.
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